Melbourne Water – mini-hydro projects

Client: Melbourne Water Corporation
Location: Victoria, Australia
Date: January 2005 – April 2011

Designing and constructing new mini-hydro projects to supply renewable energy from excess energy available in the water supply system, without compromising water supply to customers.

Background

Melbourne Water has a large number of pressure-reducing valves and energy dissipators installed in its water supply system. This provided an opportunity for installing mini-hydro equipment to recover the substantial energy released at these sites. Melbourne Water identified six sites suitable for mini-hydro projects on the basis of selection criteria including the ability to recover surplus hydraulic energy, generate greenhouse reduction benefits and provide financial returns to Melbourne Water, without requiring any changes in the operation of the water supply system and without affecting flow, pressure or water quality to customers, nor any increase in operational risk.

Solution

Entura was awarded the design and construction of six mini-hydro projects in a two-phase project. The initial phase involved feasibility assessment and preliminary design of the schemes. Following proven economic and technical feasibility, each of these six schemes was progressed to the implementation phase, including detailed design, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning:

  • Preston mini-hydro: 2MW Francis turbine
  • Olinda mini-hydro: 1MW Francis turbine
  • Nottinghill mini-hydro: 400kW Francis turbine
  • Mt View mini-hydro: 450kW Francis turbine
  • Upper Yarra mini-hydro: 900kW Francis turbine
  • Silvan mini-hydro: 2MW Kaplan turbine.

Entura was the lead contractor, as the designer, with Tyco Tamar undertaking the electrical and mechanical design and supply of plant, and Geotechnical Engineering (Geotech) taking the role of civil contractor as part of the implementation phase.

Outcome

All six projects were proved economically and technical viable, and progressed through successful construction. The projects are currently providing renewable energy into the local electricity distribution network without disrupting water supplies. This has gone a long way towards fulfilling Melbourne Water’s desire for carbon neutrality. Following the successful implementation of these six schemes, Melbourne Water has started the process to develop the next phase of incorporating more smaller mini-hydros into its water system.

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